From Iceland — Mayor Of Hafnarfjörður Asks Artist Duo Remove Their Artwork In Hafnarborg

Mayor Of Hafnarfjörður Asks Artist Duo Remove Their Artwork In Hafnarborg

Published May 5, 2021

Photo by
Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsonn

Artist duo Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson have been asked to remove their artwork that was hanging on the wall of Hafnarborg, the culture and Hafnarfjörður Art Centers, Kjarninn reports.

The duo say: “There was no danger from the project and it was all done in the right way and permission was obtained. It is very strange and serious that the mayor feels compelled to intervene in this drastic way.”

Suspicious activity

The work was placed there on Friday and is a detailed enlargement of one of the tickets that were filled out by the participants of the National Assembly held in 2010, which sought to hear what reforms the people wanted in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.

“This participant had written on the ticket ‘Do not talk about the results of the Constitutional Assembly.’ This is the message on the label and this is the work that has been removed,” says Ólafur.

The work is part of a larger project by Libia and Ólafur and the whole performance is called ‘In Search of Magic – Proposal for a new constitution for the Republic of Iceland.’

The performance took place in Hafnarhús of the Reykjavík Art Museum and in the streets outside the Government Offices and Parliament on 3 October. For the performance, Libia and Ólafur received the Icelandic Art Prize.

Had approval to do so

The duo say they have received verbal permission to set up the work from the director of the environment and planning department and the town’s property manager.

Permission was obtained last Thursday and they are both confused as to why it would be taken down.

“We have never received written answers as to why this was not possible. We got some vague answers, for example we tried to argue that this was expensive but it costs nothing to drill ten holes and then we just fill in the a wall again and the case is settled,” the duo tells Kjarninn.

Olafur goes on to say: “That’s why I called the police and announced that our artwork had been removed from the exhibition at Hafnarborg, so I was actually reporting the theft. I also said that we had a well-founded suspicion that the town authorities had the work removed and therefore probably had it.”

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